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How to Not be Intimidated by Architectural Specifications

Randy Chaffee September 2023 influencer
September 20, 2023 at 2:00 p.m.

MCS Influencer Randy Chaffee says that construction projects work better when contractors communicate with their architects.

Editor's note: The following is a transcript of an interview between our Multimedia Manager, Megan Ellsworth, and Owner of Source One Marketing, Randy Chaffee. You can listen to the interview or read the transcript below.

Megan Ellsworth: Hello everyone. My name is Megan Ellsworth here at MetalCoffeeShop.com, and we are back again with a metal influencer response for the month of September. And I'm here with Randy Chaffee. Hi, Randy.

Randy Chaffee: Megan, how are you?

Megan Ellsworth: I'm doing good. I'm glad to see you and excited to hear what you have to say about this month's topic, which is how can contractors be more involved with architectural specifications?

Randy Chaffee: Easy for you to say, right?

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.

Randy Chaffee: Oh, it's great to be here. Thank you again, as always.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah. So how can contractors get more involved with those architectural specifications? Where do they start?

Randy Chaffee: Well, it's a great question, Megan, because I think it's really important. A lot of these people, contractors, they get intimidated by the architect, the whole procedure. They don't want to be involved. They think they're going to be a pain, and the reality is it really needs to be a collaborative or team effort. And if you go into it I think right out of the gate with the idea that this is going to work well if we work together and equally not work so well if we don't work together. So I think the biggest thing is really get started early in the planning stages. As soon as you can get involved with the architect, the engineering people, whomever that may be, to get your two cents' worth in, to be involved in the process. A lot of times the contractor can influence the engineering firms and the architects within the realm of what can and can't be done, obviously. But they can influence them on products and on techniques that maybe fits their style better, fits their years of construction better.

So I think earlier the better, not wait till the very end I think is one of the big things. And I think the clear communication is huge with that. You just really got to have some regular meetings, in-person or virtual, because it can't be a one and done. It can't be just, "Well, you just design this thing and I'll go build it." I think, again, if you communicate early and often during the process. And obviously the more complex it is, the more times that'll have to happen, but you get surprises that maybe you could have avoided or surprises that I don't like to build that way, or I would rather do it a different way. And it still may be totally acceptable, but let's not find ourself in that position three weeks before the job starts. Let's find ourselves and have that discussion with the architects and engineering firms early on so that we can go into this thing at the end, at the bid process and the acceptance process, both of us on the same page. So I think that's a key.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah. Well said, well said. What do you recommend for contractors who are kind of intimidated by their architect and don't know how to start that conversation?

Randy Chaffee: I think it's a matter of understanding. Like with anybody, architects, they have a lot of letters after their name and sometimes they're in fancy offices and some of them got the suit and tie on, but they're just people. They're just people that have a job to do and go home at night and do whatever you do. So don't get intimidated by the fact that they're some loftier position because they're an architectural firm and you're driving a pickup. That doesn't mean anything. Your still both people. They have a job to do, which is design this building properly and aesthetically correct. You have an obligation to build it to their specifications, so you just got to get rid of the intimidation factor. There's no reason to be intimidated. They're just people doing their job just like you are doing yours. It's really that. I know that sounds simple, but it really is that simple, I think.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, I agree. It really is. Well, any last words on this topic about specifications?

Randy Chaffee: Just really all I'll say is, maybe repeating what I said a little different way. Value the relationship, believe in the relationship, embrace the relationship, and the more interchange you have upfront, the less issues you're going to have at the end, and the project will go way smoother that way.

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely.

Randy Chaffee: That's it.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah. Well said, Randy. Thank you again for a great response this month, and we'll be chatting with you next month in October.

Randy Chaffee: You got it. I'll be here. Thank you as always. Cheers.

Megan Ellsworth: Thank you.

Randy Chaffee is the Owner and CEO of Source One Marketing, LLC. See his full bio here.

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